The North American Meat Institute once again argued that the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has primary jurisdiction for regulation of new cell-based meat products at a joint USDA/FDA public meeting on the use of animal cell culture technology to develop products derived from livestock and poultry.
In his oral comments, North American Meat Institute Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Mark Dopp explained the many benefits of USDA regulation for cell based meat producers.
“That the inspection system FSIS administers is more rigorous than the one administered by FDA is undeniable. Administration officials have said as much. But I am baffled why those who advocate that FDA should have primary jurisdiction over cell-based meat products want to deny those companies the benefits of FSIS inspection,” Dopp said.
FSIS oversight includes the USDA mark of inspection, providing consumer confidence that a product has been deemed wholesome by the agency.
Dopp also detailed the importance and benefits of USDA’s label approval process, which protects companies from frivolous lawsuits and gives consumers confidence that products are accurately labeled and not represented to be something they are not.
He shared examples of FDA-regulated plant-based products which are represented on the package as sausage products, but contain no meat. Based not only on USDA’s standards but commonsense, he argued the products are misbranded.
Dopp’s full comments are available here. The Meat Institute will also provide detailed written comments to the agencies in response to many of the questions posed at the meeting.